May 21, 2012
Beijing, 21 May 2012 – Chinese consumers are shopping with a conscience, according to the results of the latest MasterCard, survey on Ethical Spending. According to the research, the Chinese are generally willing to pay more for items that are environmentally friendly, based on fair trade principles, or where a percentage of the item cost was donated to a good cause.
The survey also found that across the Asia Pacific region, respondents in Southeast Asia - Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia - were most likely to spend more on ethical purchases; while respondents in New Zealand, Australia and Japan were least likely to do so.
This study is part of the annual Ethical Shopping Survey by MasterCard and was conducted both online and offline in 25 countries within Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa between 5 December 2011 and 6 February 2012. The report for China is based on 500 respondents who access the internet at least weekly. The data was weighted to the online population in each of those markets. Similar surveys were also carried out in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
88% of Chinese individuals bought items because they were based on fair trade principles, a slight increase from 86% in 2010. In addition, 72%, compared to 71% in 2010, bought items because they were environmentally friendly; while 60%, compared to 55% in 2010, made these purchases because a percentage of the sale was donated to a good cause.
Over 3 in 5 Chinese individuals, who bought items because of ethical reasons, purchased them online. Just over two-thirds of this group of shoppers did so because there are now more shopping choices available online than before, while almost half said they are more likely to receive discounts on online-purchased socially-responsible products that may be more expensive elsewhere. In general, the survey demonstrated that countries which tended to have higher Internet penetration and higher propensity to shop online overall also tended to be the ones that were most likely to do ethical shopping online. China ranked highly in this aspect, together with Korea and Thailand.
Overall, Chinese respondents were also more likely to purchase from a merchant if they were known for incorporating environmentally-conscious measures in their operations (75%), being socially-responsible (73%), and being financially responsible (66%).
“Increasingly, Chinese shoppers are becoming more knowledgeable and discerning, and have started to think harder about the impact that their purchase decisions have on society,” said Ling Hai, Division President of Greater China for MasterCard Worldwide.
“They are also becoming more aware that by making moral choices about what they bring home in their shopping bags, they are making a difference to the communities they live in. Responsible shopping looks like it is here to stay.”
The study also found that those between the ages of 25 to 34 years-old are more likely to make ethical purchases.
In general, the degree of affinity that the Chinese have towards most social organizations is fairly similar to last year, with the exception of poverty and starvation alleviation funds, which increased from 21% in 2010 to 29% in 2011. Common charitable organizations the Chinese support include children’s health and education funds (30%), local natural disaster relief funds (30%) and poverty and starvation alleviation funds (29%).
Across Greater China, affinity towards social organizations that deal with poverty/starvation appeared to be the strongest for respondents in Hong Kong, while affinity towards social organizations that deal with local natural disaster relief was the strongest for respondents in Taiwan.
For the full report in English, go to: www.masterintelligence.com
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @mastercardnews, join the conversation on The Heart of Commerce Blog and subscribe for the latest news.
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